Top 4 tips from Latino Entrepreneurs

Why is Latino Entrepreneurship important?

The Latino population is large and growing and their contributions to the US economy are remarkable. Over 350,000 businesses are owned by Latinos, creating nearly 3 million American jobs, and driving a GDP of more than $2 trillion — larger than the GDPs of Canada or Italy.

On August 9th the SAP.iO Foundry in SF had the privilege of hosting successful Latino entrepreneurs, investors, and startup ecosystem builders in Silicon Valley. Despite the efforts made in recent years to increase diversity in Silicon Valley, there still remains a gap in entrepreneurial participation by and funding available to Latinos compared to non-Latinos. Latinos are now 18% of the US population, and are creating businesses at a rate even faster than their population growth! But these businesses remain small — 98% report less than $1M in annual revenue — in large part due to the lack of financing available to Latinos. Considering the major contributions made by Latinos, we wanted to hear more from them.

From left to right: Domitilla Caputo, Community Manager, SAP.iO, Martha Hernandez, Founder & CEO of madeBOS, Jesse Martinez, Founder of CareerForce, Cofounder & Co-chair, Latino Startup Alliance, Nichole Ortiz, Director Network Development, Cloud Apps Capital Partners, and Franklin Herbas, Executive Director Corporate Strategy, SAP.

Joining SAP.iO for a conversation about how companies and VCs can be more inclusive to the Bay Area Latino community were Martha Hernandez, Founder & CEO of madeBOS, Jesse Martinez, Founder of CareerForce, Cofounder & Co-chair, Latino Startup Alliance, Nichole Ortiz, Director Network Development, Cloud Apps Capital Partners, and Franklin Herbas, Executive Director Corporate Strategy, SAP.

These entrepreneurs and leaders generously shared their experiences, successes, and challenges. Their stories were inspirational, and full of experiential learnings and advice for would-be entrepreneurs. Below four takeaways from the event for entrepreneurs:

Build and expand your network

Communities, accelerators and crowdfunding platforms are just a few of many resources available nowadays to Latino entrepreneurs looking to build and expand their network. Entrepreneurs should take advantage of these events, engage with the community and build relationships. Don’t be shy to ask for help when you need it. You will be surprised at the kindness of people who might be genuinely willing to help you and give back to the community.

Learn how to effectively communicate your story

Regardless of your ethnic background, as an entrepreneur you should absolutely master the art of storytelling. Learning how to tell your story, engage your audience and rally them behind your mission is key to acquiring customers, hiring talented employees and raising capital.

There is more venture capital available than ever before but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework

According to the 2Q 2018 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report, VCs invested $57.5 billion in the first half of 2018. Nevertheless, before approaching a VC firm you should always do your homework and familiarize yourself with the VC’s portfolio, investment focus and what they are looking for. If your startup is in the very early stages and doesn’t qualify for VC investments yet consider raising capital from friends and family or try leveraging crowdfunding platforms.

Leverage corporate accelerators

Corporate accelerators could help startups boost their market traction by introducing them to new prospects and markets. However, navigating the complex organizational structures of large corporations can be daunting for any entrepreneur. Also understanding how your startups’ offering fits into the value proposition of a large corporation with a large solution portfolio isn’t easy. To help with that make sure you find mentors within the company who can help you with both navigating the org chart and understanding issues such as product integration and commercialization.

In 2016 SAP became the first technology company in the United States to be awarded the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certificate in recognition for its commitment to gender equality in the workplace. At SAP.iO, we support inclusive entrepreneurship; to-date, over ~40% of SAP.iO Fund & Foundry portfolio companies are founded or led by women or minority entrepreneurs. We believe we have a unique opportunity to make a difference for diverse entrepreneurs. As SAP CEO Bill McDermott says, “If you have a bold dream to solve one of the world’s most significant challenges, join us and let’s chase your dream together.”


Applications now open for the SAP.iO Foundry SF 2018 Fall program!

We are on the lookout for talented founders for our next cohort launching in mid-October!

We are looking for startups that can radically impact the future of human capital management and people engagement in the enterprise.

Click here to apply!

Stay tuned for our next events! Follow us on Twitter @sap_iO